How Do You Answer Some of the Common Misconceptions About Complimentarity?

How Do You Answer Some of the Common Misconceptions About Complimentarity?

Mary Kassian

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety. 

Straw woman, what is a straw woman? A straw woman is the opposite of a straw man. A straw man argument is one, you set up this caricature, and you knock it down, and then you say, "Yeah, I win the argument."

Straw women, here are some of them just real quick. There is Dora the Doormat. Dora the Doormat who just is like a bobble head doll, she nods her head, yes, up and down. She doesn't think. She just is like, "Step on me please." That is so not complementarity. Complementarity puts the responsibility on the husband to serve his wife and to honor her in the way that Christ respects and gives himself on behalf of the church. Complementarity does not promote that kind of a stereotype at all.

Another one is Dipstick Dana who just, again, the bobble head, yes, yes, yes, yes. Scripture doesn't support that either because God doesn't want weak willed women. God wants women who know Scripture, who know His word, who wrestle with application, who rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to know how they ought to live. Let me tell you, complementarity, living it out in this day and age is not simple and we need to have women who have the strength of character, the strength of will, and the willingness to wrestle through the issues, and to think them through, so that's another one.

Another one is Kitchen Katie who, her whole sole reason of existence is to be in the kitchen, or to be scrubbing floors, or toilets, or ... Laundry room, she goes into the laundry room but heaven forbid that she ever leaves the house, or has a job, or works. That's another straw woman because that's not at all what the Bible teaches either and that's not what complementarity says. For instance, in Proverbs chapter 31 you see a woman who looked well to the ways of her household and, yet, she ran a business.

There is, I think, a primary responsibility given to woman to make sure that her home is an environment that is warm, that is nourishing, and welcoming, and really a life-giving environment. That is a primary responsibility on the woman. That doesn't mean that she has to do everything, that she's the only who does anything in the house, or that she never ever leaves the house.

She can go out and work if that fits in terms of her time of life and her season of life. There is a primary responsibility, but it really is a caricature to say that Kitchen Katie, that complementarity means that a woman is stuck in the house or she's the one that does the housework. That's just false.

Some other straw women? Here's another one Repressed Rita who, poor Rita, is in the church, and she has gifts of leadership, and she has gifts of teaching, and her church says, "Well, you can't be up there Sunday mornings and you can't be an elder," and so poor Rita thinks that she can't do anything in the church. That's not true either and that's not what complementarity says.

Complementarity says that Rita should be exercising her gifts and that she should be developing her gifts, and she should be serving the body. There is so much to do, there is so much to do for the Gospel and for the Kingdom, and there is no shortage of work, and everybody ought to be engaged, and participating fully. I am a woman and I am a complementarian and I have gifts of leadership and teaching, and there are ways to do that within the framework of complementarity. There are ways to honor that and still be very, very active, and be true to what God has given you in terms of your [gifting-s 00:04:11].

There are just a few of them. There are many more, but those are just a few of the caricatures. They are false, and unfortunately you have those caricatures being presented as the way to be a complementarian. Then, that is knocked down as an argument against complementarity, but what we need to do is we need to get back to the principles of Scripture because Scripture doesn't give us a cookie cutter list, Scripture doesn't say, "These are the exact behaviors you need to follow," people like to do that, Scripture doesn't do that. Scripture gives us principles that are timeless, and that we can apply throughout history to every day and age, and figure out what God has to say, and how we ought to live.

Subscribe to the Christianity.com YouTube page!

Like Christianity.com on Facebook!


Originally published April 01, 2013.

More Video Answers

  • Was Jesus Ever Married?
    Was Jesus Ever Married?
  • Was Adam a True Historical Figure? Is That a Necessary Part of Believing the Gospel?
    Was Adam a True Historical Figure? Is That a Necessary Part of Believing the Gospel?
  • To What Degree are Muslims Interested in Understanding What Christians Believe?
    To What Degree are Muslims Interested in Understanding What Christians Believe?

Editors' Picks

  • Remembering Billy Graham, 1918-2018
    Remembering Billy Graham, 1918-2018
  • How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan?
    How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan?
  • When a Harsh Pastor Is Really a False Teacher
    When a Harsh Pastor Is Really a False Teacher